by | Apr 26, 2023 | Editor's Blog | 15 comments

Mark Robinson’s candidacy in North Carolina is a test of Republican politics and the endurance of Trumpism. Robinson is an unabashed Trumpist, spewing most of his populist garbage and embracing his insulting and demeaning campaign style. Like Trump, he’s basing his candidacy on his ability to fire up the base and bash elites. That style and strategy didn’t work too well for the GOP in 2022. We’ll likely learn if it works with the former president on the top of the ticket. 

Republicans, at least in North Carolina, aren’t running against Democratic policies. They are running against the elites. Their villains are those that right-wing media personalities helped create, people like Anthony Fauci. They are tapping into resentment of a less educated electorate that feels ignored and believes most experts are condescending. These voters aren’t going to let facts get in the way of their emotions. 

Elite has become a catch-all phrase to describe people who don’t buy into the social and cultural norms of conservative America. They are people who don’t go to church and show disdain for religion, especially evangelical Christianity. They are people who want to see restrictions on guns, no matter how modest. They are people who claim to embrace science, even if they sometimes ignore research that contradicts their views. They are tolerant of people’s sexual and gender identification. They welcome immigrants and celebrate diversity. They are usually better educated and often considered experts in their field. To Republicans, they are all elites. 

Of course, before they were elites, they were socialists and communists. To some on the right, they still are. But to the middle, those names don’t really work. Nobody outside of the right-wing media bubble really believes Joe Biden or Roy Cooper are socialists, but calling them elites and demonizing experts may have more legs with the middle. It’s a simple concept that can cover a lot of ground. 

Republicans will argue that only the elites, especially doctors, therapists, and drug companies, want to give hormones and body-altering surgery to children. They will argue that the people who most want gun control and fewer police live in low-crime enclaves with other elites, leaving people in rural and higher crime areas vulnerable to criminals. They will appeal to people whose towns and communities are being transformed by an influx immigrants, especially Latino ones, pointing out that the people who support more liberal immigration policies live areas that have been relatively untouched by the newcomers, except to mow their lawns, care for their kids, and wash their dishes when they go out to eat. In short, elites are uninterested in protecting anyone’s way of life except their own. 

Expect to hear a lot about elites over the next year and a half. Republicans need to get their message beyond just their gullible base. They are trying to create a new catch-phrase that might resonate with a broader audience. Those middle class people who live suburbs and hold certain traditional values might resent elites even if they don’t buy into the whole socialist/communist thing. We can expect to hear about how the elites closed down our schools, how they cut law enforcement budgets that led to rising crime, how raised interest rates that put homeownership out of reach of too many Americans. 

Today, we hear a lot from both sides about protecting our institutions and our norms. However, conservatives and liberals have different ideas about which institutions need protecting. Republicans want to protect churches, police departments, the right to bear arms, and the nuclear family. Democrats want to protect our public schools, democracy, justice, and diversity. In other words, conservatives want to protect very tangible and measurable aspects of society while Democrats focus more on preserving ideals and ideas, the realm of intellectuals and experts, or as Republicans call them, elitists. 

In 2022, voters showed that they are more discerning than many of us believed. They rejected Republicans who ran as Trumpists but elected those who ran as more traditional conservatives. They might be tired of Donald Trump, but they aren’t enamored with Joe Biden or the Democrats in general. Republicans are betting that they can use the term “elite” to drive a wedge between middle class voters and Democrats. They are hoping that they can turn Mark Robinson’s lack of experience and his rough edges into an advantage instead of a liability.


  1. Gregory Weeks

    “In what new skin will the old snake come forth?” Fredrick Douglas asked this in a speech at the 1865 Anti-Slavery Society Convention. Why, because, if you track the history of this country you will find that EVERY period of progress, whether it be racial, gender or otherwise, has been followed by the same old systemic, structural, and institutional inequities that have existed since the beginning of this nation. Our forefathers said one thing about who and what America was about and created policies and practices to maintain a white male dominated hierarchy. Not all white males, mind you just those with power and position. Fact: in the first election in America white males who did not own property or pay taxes COULD NOT VOTE in many states. FACT: Women had to wait almost a century and a half to get the right to vote. FACT an estimated indigenous population of between 5 and 11 million was reduced to somewhere between 300,000- 500,000. Genocide……Track it for yourself. Look at the civil rights era which resulted in “some” positive results then look at the backlash that resulted and where we are today. Yesterdays stand in the school house door Democrats are today’s Republicans. Bottom line is that “the more things change — the more they stay the same in America. That old snake sheds one skin and takes on another….

  2. cocodog

    For years, Republican Members of Congress have repeatedly tried to cut Medicare and Social Security, move toward privatizing one or both programs, and raise the Social Security retirement and Medicare eligibility age. The problem is Republicans cannot stop lying about their reasons. Saving the “entitlements” as Republicans like to call them is not the reason behind their efforts, no indeed! The primary reason is they want to cut taxes on their fat cat contributors. How it works: if you give huge tax cuts to a select few, revenue goes down. Making this loss up in the Republican politician’s mind is done by cutting expenditures in other places. Preferably benefits that improve life for the average American. This country has the highest drug prices in the world because Republicans have fought the notion that Medicare and the VA should be allowed to negotiate prices. The drug companies love this and contribute millions to their Republican benefactors.
    Social Security Board of Trustees in 2023 reported the social security Trust Fund could be exhausted by 2035. That is a fact, easily checked online. The Trust Fund is maintained by taxing wages. So, the more folks employed the more money goes into the trust fund. Biden’s record on reducing unemployment is out there also.
    If picking on Trump offends Republicans, the party should tell him to withdraw his efforts to become president. And stop these stupid shenanigans. If Trump places himself in the public eye, he is fair game for investigative reporters and clever sex workers. I am being generous with the title clever!

    • ringlet86

      I think the entire program should be phased out. Its a ponzi scheme. How that is done, I don’t care. In all my planning I have accounted SS to be ZERO. So I don’t care what happens to it. I recognized long ago it was a worthless governemnt promise. If I got anything it would be worthless depreciated fiat money that maybe I could by cat food to eat I do wish I could opt out and keep my own money though.

      Anyway. The program coming to head end one way or the other. Just like all the other bipartisan failings of Congress A choice is do something (good or bad, probably bad) or circumstances will make choices for them. Same with all fiscal monetary, and budgetary issues. They choose, or choices will be made for them.

      Given how politicians LOVE to ride in at the last minute to “fix” problems they have made. (probably on purpose) I think the latter is likely. The only sure thing is they are unaffected, and we get screwed.

      I found this currently SS is down to 1.6 workers for every person using the program.


      Plan accordingly.

      Good luck

      • cocodog

        ringlet, my computer security system prevents me from connecting to site you posted. I wonder why ?????, Perhaps you could “summarize what your point may or may not be ???

  3. cocodog

    Understanding the how and why of the debt ceiling and Social Security.
    1. The debt ceiling has nothing to do with the budget! The debt limit is not a forward-looking budgeting tool. It represents the spending and revenue decisions debated and enacted in prior years by prior Congresses and Administrations. In other words, it involves paying bills that have been incurred. Note: if a debtor fails to pay their bills, the debtor incurs a higher interest rate when borrowing in the future. In the case of the government, this means, the taxpayer will be paying the difference through higher taxes.
    2. Social Security is not going broke. Social security draws its funds from employed persons. Each month, funds are deducted from your paycheck and paid into Social Security. Therefore, the lower the number of unemployed persons, the more money is paid in. The Biden Administration has a higher number of employed persons, then Trump. Moreover, Biden has strived to produce more and higher paying jobs with benefits than Trump. It should be noted: Republicans have tried for years to turn these funds over to private investment firms to make that firm money, plus allow these firms to game the market for personal gain. Of course, this has never happened in the past??? Anybody who has a 401K has seen their funds fall due to market fluctuations as the result of some hedge fund operator gaming the system! Following the Republican plan would put the Fox in charge of the hen house!

    • ringlet86

      I never mentioned the debt limit. I talked about budgeting, spending and the size and scope of the US governemnt going forward. That said you can’t raise your limits forever. (since congress spends every dime every time) unsustainable. Not even the USA as a reserve can do it forever.
      What I said about SS you can look up. Right now there is only 2 working for every one taking benefits, and that is dropping as the Boomers retire. Soon to be 1 to 1 and then under water after that. Unsustainable. The 20% cut you can find it I was surprised when I saw it.

      As to the rest. Who cares.

  4. cocodog

    What makes a person an elite? Common definition are folks who hold a “disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege, political power”, some have argued the definition should include those individuals who are skilled within a group”. A career criminal is a skilled individual within the criminal world and has committed or been involved in the commission of crime throughout his or her life. In a sense, a career criminal is an elite within the criminal subculture. They are the criminal professional vs the common street offender who may limit his or her activity to armed robbery or grab and run theft. Trump is currently facing nineteen legal proceedings – about half of which allege wrongful behavior during his time in office. However, Trump under the laws of this country is not considered guilty until he is afforded due process. The controlling notion is arrest/formal accusation happens to the innocent as well as the guilty. Trump’s nineteen pending cases fall under three themes: financial wrongdoing for personal gain; his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection; and his alleged interference in the 2020 election. Trump has denied criminal liability in all these cases. In addition, filed motions to dismiss and in some cases filed counter suits. This is within his rights and should not prejudice his standing in the eyes of the law.
    Assuming for purposes of discussion, if convicted would that make him a criminal elite?

    • ringlet86

      I really don’t get the Fascination with Trump on the left.

      He not getting mu vote. Too old, as to the rest. Who cares. Many a politician has done far worse and nothing has been done. Its just tiresome to me.

      Biden, Trump. Old Boomers past their prime that need to go away.

      Enough already

  5. Paul Shannon

    NC voters certainly didn’t reject Republicans who ran as Trumpists in 2022. Im worried.

    • ringlet86

      You should be. As a democrat I am very worries about where and what they party espouses. We are completely out of touch with Pretty much everybody except those who we should not be.

  6. cocodog

    In the end it is all about them and us! Republicans harbor in their ranks more “elites” than Democrats. Ted Cruz – Harvard Law School from 1992 to 1995., DeSantis, graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. The list goes on. These are the elites, yet Republicans are trying to sell the notion Democrats are elitists. Trump has never had to worry about where his next Big Mac will come from or will he be able to pay for the medication necessary to deal with an illness. His daddy left him eleven million, which he squandered away. He is an elite. Woke did not work out for them, so now they are trying this elite nonsense. Let us get real, Republicans accept the backing of more elite big corporations with the understanding they will vote to lower their taxes and protect their interests. In fact, Republicans are willing to bring the good credit of this country down by refusing to effectively deal with this national debt situation unless Democrats allow them to continue to lower taxes for their fat cat elite contributors and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for the rest of us. Trump raised the national debt more than any president in recent history. Republicans did not think twice about voting to raise it. This current batch of Republicans are not seriously interested in running a government for the people, not in the least.

    • ringlet86

      The thing is Trump may be an elite, but he does not at all act like one. That is why they hate him so. He tells their secrets and has no fucks to give if they care. His election was a big middle finger to the “establishment on EVERY side.
      That why they hate him so, and also why so many people love him so.

      The USA has no credit due to both parties. There is no saving it and its sure as Hell dumb ass Biden won’t be able to do it nor any of his sycophants. even if they wanted to. (which they don’t) To combat the debt and deficit would take cutting spending in social programs and which account for the vast majority of “mandatory” spending. Probably an across the board cut everywhere of at least 50% to start for the next 20 years. We’d also have to scrap the ridiculous baseline budget model (do you even know about that) and move to a zero based budget model. We have to shrink the size and scope of the federal government by 90% and even them it would still be pretty big. Thats just to save the dollar as a reserve from which ALL OUR PROSPERITY COMES FROM. (Do you know this?) When social security runs dry ( in I think 2026 the year keeps moving) Social security is cut by 20% AUTOMATICALLY.

      You going to sign up for that? The cuts, the smaller government etc…..I didn’t think so No democrat would, and neither will 90% of our stupid county.

      As it stands now the country is leaderless and the currency is dead. We are dead letter in financial markets, and trade, and nonexistent in foreign relations. The list is long of messed up stuff. Everyone in Washington is stuffing their pockets and running for the exits. No one, and I mean no one want creaky old Joe NOW much less AGAIN. So no one is sticking around for the next iteration which is sure to be WORSE than this mess.

      The only one going to be holding the bag is us.

      Its not a republican vs Democrat thing. Its federal governemnt vs the people thing.

  7. cocodog

    While reading your article, it struck me I have seen this type of material years ago. It reminded me of an intelligence analysis. It clearly defines the issues, applies logic, and reaches a conclusion that makes sense.
    Republicans have been playing these strategy games dating back to Lee Atwater. They have no desire to govern in a reasonable manner. Just win by whatever means possible without regard for what they may be doing to this country. It is clear; Republicans are not interested in improving matters by applying the principles of the founders and common sense.

  8. Mike

    Mark Robinson: he’s Trumpier than Trump. But he’d be treated poorly if he actually showed up at one of Trump’s hate rallies.

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